We are now within 7 days of leaving Homer Alaska for Adrian Missouri. My family is busy doing a few things. We are packing the final items we need to take, preparing for a final sale and finally doing anything fun we can squeeze in. One of the fun things we are doing is buying souvenirs. We have bought some T-shirts, some Christmas ornaments (plus a few gifts for family) and a little local artwork.
It is interesting to be on the other side of this trip. When we moved here 5 years ago we ran to all the shops and bought hats, shirts and all kinds of trinkets that said Alaska. Interestingly enough, much of it was made in China. We were like tourist who just happen to live here. Now are looking for items that really represent our time in Alaska. We are looking for Alaskan made items. We are looking for unique pieces. We looking for items that mean something to us. We want things that will take us back to this place in our memory. Now we are locals just looking to remember our time here together.
Let me encourage you to got some quality souvenirs of faith. I do not mean buying high quality art or Christian made gifts at the local bookstore. I mean collect stories of a life of faith. Spend time with other people of faith in unique situations and take pictures. Attend a conference once a year and keep notes. Collect encouraging notes and cards. Hold onto the gifts that other Christian people have given you (except food).
For years I kept a box of all the discouraging notes I was given. All of the anonymous notes scribbled in anger toward me. Letters from people leaving the Church or at least the Church I led. Then one day I decided to throw all of those away and start a box of encouraging notes and photos. I now have one on my computer inbox too.
Now, whenever I get down I open up those notes or read those emails and suddenly I am encouraged. I have special gifts people have given me that make me smile every time I look at them. I have photos of numerous special Church events that bring me joy every time I look through them.
If you do not have some of these items, then my only encouragement is to make them for someone else. Send a card to someone in the Church today. Take pictures at the next Church function and share them with everyone. Get a special one printed and give it to someone in a frame. Buy a gift and give it to someone who has helped grow your faith.
Be the blessing you wish to receive.